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  • City of Syracuse Minority and Women Owned Business Participation Program

    Frequently Asked Questions


     What does MWBE stand for?

    MWBE means Minority and Women Owned Enterprise is a business that has a specific ownership composition of minimally 51%.  The minority and women owned business definitions can be found here.


     What is MWBE Certification?

    MWBE Certification is the process by which an applicant’s business minority or women ownership, management and operational status as defined by the City of Syracuse Ordinance are validated.


     What are the benefits of MWBE Certification with the City of Syracuse?

    The City of Syracuse has MWBE utilization and Equal Employment Opportunity requirements for construction projects which are clearly indicated in the contract specifications. This includes those under the Joint Syracuse School Construction Project.


    What are the City of Syracuse's MWBE goals?

     Currently 9% for MBE’s and 6% WBE’s


     Once certified, can a firm be assured of getting contracts and subcontracts?

    No.  Certification does not guarantee work to any certified business.  In addition, although certification enhances a firm’s exposure to prime contractors and the business community, a certified firm still must market itself, its personnel and its services.


     Will being certified as a MWBE firm allow me to bid on contracts issued by the City of Syracuse?

    You do not have to be certified as a MWBE to bid on contracts.  MWBE certification makes your firm available to prime contractors seeking to meet MWBE compliance requirements specified in their contract as well as increasing your firm’s exposure to these businesses.


     What are the benefits to a corporation to know that a minority owned company is certified?

    Corporations benefit from the knowledge that a minority or women owned company is a certified by:

    • Expanding their existing and future customer base

    • Increasing access to emerging markets in urban communities

    • Meeting compliance with governmental requirements

    • Contributing to the economic viability of MBEs and the communities in which they are located.


     How can I become obtain City of Syracuse MWBE Certification?

    The process starts with completion of a certification application and submission of all required documentation.   


     Why do you ask for my financial information?

    Financial information is critical in validating a company’s business legitimacy, and is kept confidential.


     What is the Cost of MWBE Certification?

    There is no cost to the business aside from any costs incurred in completing the application and process (i.e. copies, mailing, etc.)


     How long does certification take?

    There is no way to predict how long it will take to become a certified MWBE with the City of Syracuse.  The duration of the process is dependent upon many variables (i.e.  a complete application with submission of all required documentation, scheduling site visit and interview, etc.), however the City is committed to expediting the process and targets a process not to exceed 90 days.


     My business is a City of Syracuse certified MWBE … What’s Next?

    You will receive a letter confirming your certification with the City with an M or WBE certificate.

    You will now be added to the City of Syracuse’s MWBE database.  A certification listing is available on the MWBE directory webpage.                                     
    It is your responsibility to ensure that the information listed remains accurate. 
    Contact our office with any business information changes:

    Stay informed about City of Syracuse bid notices.  These notices are found on the City’s website: for bids and for RFPs .
    Even if you are not interested in bidding as a prime contractor be aware that prime contractors will be looking for certified MWBE firms to meet contractual requirements.


     Does the certification expire?

    Yes.  The certification is valid for three years from the issuance of the certification letter.  

    Be advised that a City of Syracuse representative will conduct periodic reviews of business status. Certification may be immediately revoked if it is determined through review that the firm no longer qualifies as a Minority/Women Business Enterprise.


     Are there other certifications I should know about?

    Yes. Your company can possess more than one certification and some public contract compliance requirements identify specific certifications such as:

    New York State MWBE Certification. If you are certified as a MWBE by NYS, the City of Syracuse will honor that certification in its process.  You can find out more about NYS MWBE certification at:  NYS MWBE certification is not a requirement for City of Syracuse certification.

    Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification. DBE certification is a federal program certification and is separate from NYS MWBE program in that the DBE program has economic criteria; the MWBE program does not. The program only certifies small businesses that are independently owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged persons.  You can find more information of DBE certification at:  

    Section 3 certification.  Information about section 3 can be found here:


     What is a NAICS code?

    Northern American Industry Classification System – is a six-digit industry classification code developed jointly by the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments to be used as a North American coding system. Businesses need these codes, which describe their revenue-producing lines of business, to:

    • Register new business with the US Government

    • Subcontract from Defense Contractors, or Government Agencies

    Visit  for more information.


     What is a Dun & Bradstreet Number? 

    The D&B D-U-N-S Number is a unique nine-digit identification sequence, which provides unique

    Identifiers of single business entities, while linking corporate family structures together. D&B numbers are used by the world’s most influential standards-setting organizations; it is recognized, recommended and/or required by many, industry and trade associations, including the United Nations, the U.S. Federal Government, the Australian Government and the European Commission. It is the standard for keeping track of the world’s businesses.


     How can I do business with the City of Syracuse?

    Information regarding conducting business with the City of Syracuse (i.e.  RFP and bid information) can be found here


     Where can I go for business development assistance?

    There are several agencies/programs that can assist you:


    Cooperative Federal Credit Union – Small business “micro enterprise” lending                                                

    Eastside Office

    723 Westcott Street          
    Syracuse, NY 13210
    (315) 473-0270

    Southwest Office

    Southwest Community Center
    401 South Avenue
    Syracuse, NY 13204
    (315) 473-0260

    Northside Office

    800 N Salina Street
    Syracuse, NY 13208
    Assisi Center, corner of N Salina and Catawba St
    (315) 473-0280

    Fax: (315) 476-0567


    Southwest Economic Business Resource Center

    119 South Avenue

    Syracuse, NY 13204
    Office: 315-471-2720
    Fax: 315-471-2718


    Hours of operation:
    Monday & Wednesday
    9am – 5pm
    Tuesday & Thursday
    12pm – 8pm


    Small Business Development Center, OCC

    J. Stanley Coyne Bldg., Suite 200
    4585 W. Seneca Turnpike
    Syracuse, NY 13215

    Office Open: Monday – Friday
    Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.



    Southside Innovation Center

    2610 South Salina St

    Syracuse, NY 13205

    (315) 443-8466


    US Small Business Administration

    Syracuse District Office

    401 S. Salina Street, 5th Floor
    Syracuse, New York 13202
    315-471-9393 Phone
    315-471-9288 Fax   







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Syracuse, NY 13202
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